Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jamaican Football Programme - What are the needs?

I had the distinguished opportunity to be the Guest Speaker at the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association Senior Award ceremony this evening (Thursday, July 26) and I spoke to a number of reasons why Jamaica should do more to get the best out of the most watched sport in the world - football. We acknowledged that track and field has highlighted Jamaica's image in a positive way; but picture for a moment a top performing national football team, a well oiled track and field programme along with excellent performances in netball, basketball, volleyball and swimming along with other sports. If sport is one of the leading industries in the world and Jamaica is blessed with the enormous talent and techincal personnel it has, then it is time to make some "good" money. I raised four major factors which would contribute to a great football player - talent - marketability - eloquence - community profile Sport is largely dirven by personalities and so once the talent is established then the rest of the skills set should be nurtured and brought to the fore as the package up for promotion and delivery. It's useless to even want to quantify the value of the Jamaican sporting industry without first engaging in a culture of - sportsmanship - support from the citizens - activism through volunteerism - social inclusion Football has those abilities as it is a mass sport in the Jamaican context. Outside of the CHAMPS, the odd cricket test; football draws the biggest crowds and covers the widest base across communities. I suggest we create an 'academic' template for the football talent of our country by academising the talent. What do I mean? Value the life skill/experience of a player...create an academy style training programme to offer basic education...train them in the finer things in football. This could empower a significant community and take the football to a completely different level. So UWI, UTech, GCF join forces and make a plan for this. I cannot imagine how proud members of the inner city communities graduating from an academy (under the name of UWI, UTech, NCU or GCF) - that kind of empowerment is invaluable and would offer great experience for these young people. I know there is someone out there waiting to do this research to select out first set of University Community students and focus our attention on 'Building a Nation one young man/woman at a time". Of course my passion cannot resist to say "the time is now" and no matter what happens at this Olympics, Jamaica will be talked about at least for another year - best time to engage the world. If Britain can attract investment opportunities in Education, then so can we. Let's do the non-traditional way, let us think Outside the Box.

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